LOGISTICS SERVICES Dynamic buffer increases product range availability in multi-channel retail business Sportscheck GmbH, a leading German commercial enterprise for sporting goods, has moved all of its warehouse logistics to Fiege, a contract logistics provider. The service provider has thus won another well-known multi-channel customer in fashion logistics. This collaboration will enable the sporting goods retailer to offer even better service to its customers. Sportscheck, a multi-channel company, specializes in equipment and clothing for different kinds of sports. That includes a product range of more than 30,000 items from over 500 brands, available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “Sportscheck is the meeting place for everyone who‘s active in sports and leisure. And because of that, we offer our customer not only clothing and equipment, but also many other different possibilities for participating in sports,” explains Guido Jaenisch, Managing Director of Sportscheck. To move forward with laying the foundation for forward-looking and customer-oriented multi-channel retail business, the company has undertaken two major projects in the last two years. The “Storm” IT project established a uniform SAP landscape as the basis of all business processes, while logistics processing was reorganized in a project carried out jointly with Fiege from Greven, Germany (named “Lana” after a German acronym). Both projects were based on the following premises: n Sportscheck is changing its entire IT landscape at the same time as the logistics system. n Complete introduction of SAP including a reorganization of the established business processes – prototypical, iterative procedure for a project. n No connection between today‘s logistics and the new IT, and no connection between the logistics service provider and the old IT. n No interruption in deliveries to end customers in online business or in supply to branch offices. About Fiege Fiege, a company with 140 years of tradition, has been a pioneer in contract logistics, offering a wide variety of solutions for logistics outsourcing. The company creates solutions for national and international projects – in 17 countries and at 200 locations – with its own logistics consulting. From customer orders through warehousing, shipping and distribution to returns management, and also as a fulfilment service provider, the company offers complete uniform contract logistics concepts. The company is equally at home in textile logistics, fashion logistics, warehouse logistics, industrial logistics and full service e-commerce.
01 The two-stage picking process begins with customer-neutral picking followed by sorting for individual orders 02 The hanging pouch sorter allows for “dynamic” returns processing n No build-up of inventory, not even temporarily during the moving phase, with full product range availability in both “worlds.” Collaboration with Fiege as logistics service provider includes B2B business, supplying branch offices in Germany, and B2C business, supplying end customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The logistics service provider also integrates various value-added services and is responsible for B2B and B2C returns logistics. Complaints process was also completely integrated into the logistics processes. Bringing returns into circulation faster The services Fiege provides for Sportscheck are integrated into the service provider‘s multi-user location in Apfelstädt near Erfurt, Germany. The core of the automated concept is a hanging pouch sorter. A comparable system is already in use at the Greven location. In the first of two stages of picking (Image 01), the required articles from planned orders in the relevant batch are picked customer-neutrally so they can be sorted for individual orders using hanging pouches (Image 01) in the second stage. With the sorter system – including integrated dynamic buffer – returns logistics can be integrated directly into the “forward logistics” of both sales channels, so that incoming returns can be reused within a short timeframe. Provided these returns are 1a articles and can be used with the hanging pouch sorter, after processing and posting to the customer account, they are saved in one of the 40,000 handing pouches in dynamic buffer instead of being returned to the regular shelving rack system. In this way return items are directly available for filling orders from online and branch office business. The conversion, installation and start-up phases were followed beginning in April 2014 by successive transfer of inventory from the previous service provider. An inventory of about three million items was transferred to Apfelstädt with more than 700 interchangeable containers. The go-live phase ran incrementally, differentiated by sales channels and countries. For example, the first end customer packages for the online market in Austria were not sent until about one month later. The stepwise connection was successfully completed in time by the end of July 2014, with supply of the last branch office established. By collaborating with Fiege, the sporting goods dealer can raise its service level in deliveries while lowering circulating inventory, to facilitate further growth both in the chain store business and in catalog and internet business. The Erfurt facility has a favorable geographical location in the heart of Germany. That allows for late cut-off times, which are especially important for further increasing service for end customers in online business. From warehouse to quality assurance The logistics service provider is responsible for storing, picking and dispatch as well as returns and value-added services for the The sorter system is used to integrate returns logistics into “forward logistics” entire Sportscheck product line in its multiuser location with a surface area of about 39,000 m². In addition to standard valueadded services such as price labelling or applying anti-theft devices, Fiege also operates a ski and bike workshop under contract from the multi-channel retailer. These workshops are used for example to mount bindings on skis that have been ordered and to make preassembled bicycles ready for operation before shipping. Services also include quality assurance for articles received in incoming goods. The logistics service provider also transfers out articles for the photo studio attached to the location and forwards them to photo production. The logistics system at the Apfelstädt location of the Fiege Group provides Sportscheck with the basis for “standardized nextday delivery” to customers and branch offices as well as a scalable, responsive backbone for logistics. Designed for a throughput of about 80,000 pieces a day in 2-shift operation, this gives the retailer the capacity to handle seasonal and advertising-based peaks while offering customers consistently high logistics quality. Photos: Fiege www.fiege.de f+h Intralogistics 3/2015 29